Interviews

Simply Fresh – Modern Agri Tech Start Up Propagating Hydroponic Farming

Interview of Sachin Darbarwar, the Founder and CEO of Simply Fresh Private Limited. Darbarwar who has worked in Australia, holds an enriching background in Information Technology, with a strong understanding of Agriculture technology and farming techniques.  He has done his Masters in IT Project Management – University of Sydney, Australia, and has also studied plant technology.  He has over 18 years of experience with a strong technical portfolio in developing and innovating Shares trading platforms, Security & Antivirus software, Banking, and Agritech – Automation. Darbarwar was the youngest IT Project Manager at Commonwealth Bank in Australia. His stint with Agri tech began when he worked on Hydroponic farming for an Australian Agricultural university. 

Darbarwar Spoke to Krishi Jagran and here are the Excerpts of the interview.

What is the ideology behind Simply Fresh?

With a motto of Affordable Food safety, Simply Fresh’s mission is to bring fresh, clean, traceable, and technologically assisted produce through sustainable farming, adhering to the best standards of food safety. Providing Nutra raw material, which is traceable, safe and with higher alkaloid levels to nutraceutical companies. We follow sustainable farming practices for growing all our produce. 

How is AI transforming agriculture?

With introducing of AI in farming we at Simply Fresh can do a lot of things which were not possible earlier, like Crop Profiling – analyzing seeds for better germination, measuring nutrient requirement of plants.

Automated AI controlled greenhouses for better maintaining temperature inside. Sustainable farming practices – In country like India, where we have scarcity of water especially for agricultural use, by using AI and hydroponic technology we are able to reduce our water consumption drastically by up to 1/10th of the traditional farming water consumption.

With help AI and data analytics we are able to better forecasting yield from our farm and also demand from consumers. 

How is the response of this modern agri tech start up in India, especially Telangana? 

We are very happy with acceptance we have received in Telangana and other major cities in India. We supply to many major cities in India and have seen a consistent increase in demand for fresh, safe, and traceable produce. We are trying to spread even more awareness on our technology and how Simply Fresh produce is safer with high nutritional value. 

What percent of man labour is reduced with the help of using modern technology?

With help of modern technology in farming we are able to cut down dependency on man labour by upto 1/3th of that is required by traditional farmers. 

How do you monitor crop and soil?

We do soilless farming. Our produce is grown hydroponically and monitored in Automated Retractable Greenhouses with AI based Weather Monitoring. The temperature inside the Greenhouses are tracked & controlled using IOT, RH & PH sensors, along with monitoring leaf temperature and IR cameras.

We take necessary action to make sure no harmful pesticides being sprayed on the plants. Therefore, maintaining the MRL (Maximum Residual Level) in the strictest permissible limits.

We harvest the produce only after adhering to the recommended withholding period, making sure the produce is of the safest quality and ready for use and consumption.

What are your future plans? 

With our new 150-acre farm ready near Siddipet, Hyderabad we intend to spread our reach to more retail, corporates and HoReCa clients in various cities in India.  We also grow a variety of Nutraceutical plants. We plan to expand more in the Nutraceutical segment and focus on exports as there is a huge demand around the globe for safe and traceable produce. 

According to you what is the future using AI in farming?

AI will play an important role in future of farming. Agriculture will need to adapt to more modern technology to better serve consumers. With increase in demand for fresh, safe, and traceable produce, it will help growers better understand and forecast demand of their consumers by analyzing data. It will help in various stages of growing by monitoring appropriate climatic conditions, nutrition requirement of plants, estimate the perfect harvest time of each crop resulting in predicting total yield more accurately and, hence meeting the demand.

How are you tackling labour challenge?

Biggest task we are facing right now is making sure our farms are operating at optimum capacity and we meet the demands of the orders we are receiving from our clients. We are working closely with our clients, vendors, and logistic partners for a smooth operation. 

We have taken necessary steps for our staff at farm. We have provided our farm staff with good living, properly sanitized quarters at farm. We are making sure to maintain social distancing, provide clean, safe, and hygienic working environment. 

We are providing them their basic essential food requirement on daily basis. We have arranged for regular doctors to visit our farm to brief our staff and check for any health issues. We are also training are staff to stay safe and work efficiently during this pandemic. 

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